(24) Northwestern at Michigan (-10, 52.5)
Northwestern and Michigan likely need to win out and get some help to overtake Nebraska in the Big Ten Legends Division. Wolverines’ coach Brady Hoke appears encouraged by the recovery of QB Denard Robinson, who sat out against Minnesota because of an ulnar nerve injury. Devin Gardner threw for 234 yards and two scores last week and will be ready to go if Robinson can’t suit up. The road team is 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings.
Army at (23) Rutgers (-17.5, 52)
Rutgers will face three straight Big East opponents in 13 days after Saturday’s game – with a home date versus Louisville to potentially decide first place in the conference. So, don’t be surprised if the Scarlet Knights rest many of their starters if they jump out to a big lead. Army’s bread and butter comes from its running game as it boasts an FBS-best 375.4 rushing yards per contest. But the road hasn’t been kind for Army, which has dropped nine straight such contests. The Black Knights are just 1-8 ATS in their last nine meetings.
(9) Louisville at Syracuse (+1.5, 58)
The Cardinals are looking for their first 10-win season since the glory days of Bobby Petrino in 2006, when they last made a BCS bowl. The Orange should take aim at Louisville’s suspect rushing defense with junior Jerome Smith, who has racked up over 100 yards rushing in each of the last three contests. The Louisville defense has surrendered an average of 148 yards on the ground and more than 22 points per game. The underdog is 7-1 ATS in their last eight meetings.
Iowa State at (17) Texas (-10.5, 55.5)
The Longhorns have forced 14 turnovers and committed eight, which is tied for the seventh-fewest in the country. Texas has turned those mistakes into points, outscoring the opposition 77-10 off turnovers. The Longhorns have won eight of the last nine meetings, but the road team is 6-0 ATS in their last six clashes.
Arkansas at (8) South Carolina (-14, 52.5)
South Carolina had an off week to adjust to life without star RB Marcus Lattimore, who is done for the year with a knee injury. Running backs Kenny Miles and Mike Davis have 66 carries between them this season and will have to carry the load with Lattimore out. The Hogs will be short-handed at linebacker after starter Terrell Williams was suspended indefinitely following his DUI arrest Sunday. The Razorbacks are 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings.
Kansas at (22) Texas Tech (-25.5, 58.5)
The Jayhawks have lost 20 straight road games, including a 41-14 setback at Baylor last week and 18 in a row overall in the Big 12. Fifteen of Kansas’ 20 consecutive road losses have been by double digits and seven have been by 40 or more points. Texas Tech signal-caller Seth Doege leads all FBS QBs with 31 touchdowns, is fifth in the nation at 318.8 yards per game through the air and eighth in completion percentage (69.3). The under is 5-1 in Texas Tech’s last six home games.
UL Lafayette at (6) Florida (-27, 50.5)
The Ragin’ Cajuns need a win Saturday to become bowl eligible and have an offense that can put up points led by QB Terrance Broadway. But Louisiana-Lafayette has never faced a defense like Florida’s, which ranks fourth in the nation in points allowed (12.1). The Gators are 4-0 all-time against the Rajin’ Cajuns and have won those contests by an average of 42.8 points. Florida is 6-0 ATS in its last six vs. Sun Belt opponents.
(11) Oregon State at (14) Stanford (-4, 44.5)
Redshirt freshman Kevin Hogan will make his first start at QB when Stanford hosts Oregon State on Saturday in a critical Pac-12 North showdown. Hogan earned the nod at QB over Josh Nunes after passing for 184 yards and two touchdowns against the Buffaloes. Oregon State QB Cody Vaz is set to make his second straight start in place of Sean Mannion, who lost the job after throwing four interceptions two weeks ago in a loss to Washington. With Stanford and Oregon State ranked in the nation’s top 20 in scoring defense, this game figures to be a low-scoring contest. The Beavers are 3-1 on the road this season, while Stanford has won seven straight home games and 18 of its last 19.
Arizona State at (19) USC (-8.5, 65.5)
Southern California’s defense was non-existent last week against Oregon, allowing a school-record 730 yards in a 62-51 defeat. The Trojans have lost two straight games, but their offense (36.8 PPG) hasn’t been the problem. Arizona State snapped a streak of 11 straight losses to Southern California last year in Tempe with a 43-22 rout over the Trojans. The Sun Devils have shut out six teams in the fourth quarter this season and outscored opponents 102-24 in the final period. Arizona State is also 4-0 ATS in its last four meetings with the Trojans.
Penn State at (16) Nebraska (-8, 51)
Four victories in five Big Ten games have vaulted Nebraska to a first-place tie in the Legends Division. The Cornhuskers average 269.6 rushing yards and are scoring 29.6 points in conference play, but have surrendered an average of 30.2 points per game in their past five contests. Nobody was sure how Penn State would fare this season in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal, but the Nittany Lions have been one of the nation’s big surprises. Penn State beat Purdue last week and has won six of seven since a 0-2 start. The Nittany Lions are 4-0 ATS in their last four road games.
Maryland at (13) Clemson (-30.5, 55.5)
Clemson isn’t expected to have much trouble with the Terrapins, who have lost four quarterbacks to season-ending injuries. The Terrapins were forced to start freshman LB Shawn Petty at QB in their 33-13 loss to Georgia Tech last week. Maryland’s injury epidemic jumped over to the defensive side of the ball in the loss when senior LB Demetrius Hartsfield tore his ACL, ending his season. The loss is significant as Hartsfield leads the team with 78 tackles. Clemson is seventh in the nation at 42.7 points per game. But running back Andre Ellington, second in the ACC with 780 rushing yards, is questionable after injuring his hamstring against Duke. The Tigers are 6-0 ATS in their last six games overall.
Baylor at (12) Oklahoma (-21.5, 75.5)
Oklahoma is allowing a conference-best 17.8 points and league-low 312.9 yards per contest, but both will be put to the test against high-octane Baylor. Baylor’s passing offense ranks first nationally at 392.1 yards per game, but its defense is yielding 527.3 yards – also the most in the nation. Sooners RB Damien Williams (ankle) was limited during last week’s game against Iowa State and is questionable to play Saturday. The Bears are 5-0 ATS in their last five games in Oklahoma.
(15) Texas A&M at (1) Alabama (-13.5, 57)
Alabama won its first eight games by an average of 32.5 points before needing a late touchdown pass from A.J. McCarron to pull out a 21-17 win at LSU last
week. The Crimson Tide’s vaunted defense gave up big chunks of yardage on the ground and through the air against LSU, and it will face a major challenge against the Aggies and freshman QB Johnny Manziel. Coach Kevin Sumlin’s offense, led by Manziel, has averaged 559.6 total yards, which is on pace to break the SEC record of 534.4 set by Florida in 1995. The Aggies rank fifth in the nation in total offense and fourth in scoring (44.67). Alabama is just 2-5 ATS in its last seven home games.
(2) Kansas State at TCU (+7, 58)
Wildcats QB Collin Klein was knocked out of last week’s win over Oklahoma State with a head injury. Kansas State coach Bill Snyder on Tuesday said he was hopeful his star QB would be able to start Saturday’s game at Texas Christian. Klein’s mother took it a step further, telling ESPN that her son “feels great” and she expected him to be “100 percent.” TCU is coming off a huge double-overtime victory at West Virginia and is 3-0 in its last three games against teams ranked in the top five. The Wildcats are 5-0-1 ATS in their last six vs. a team with a winning record.
(20) Louisiana Tech at Texas State (+20, 69.5)
The Bulldogs continued their record-breaking season last weekend with a 51-27 victory over Texas-San Antonio – the seventh time they have eclipsed 50 points and fifth consecutive game in which they posted more than 500 yards of total offense. The Bulldogs continue to win by impressive margins thanks primarily to the nation’s third-best turnover differential (plus-1.89), allowing the country’s third-ranked offense to shine. Texas State has been outscored 161-58 in four losses against teams with winning records in 2012. The Bulldogs have played over the total in eight of their last nine games overall.
(5) Georgia at Auburn (+14.5, 52)
Georgia will earn its second straight trip to the SEC Championship Game by winning at Auburn on Saturday night. And the Bulldogs enter hot after forcing nine turnovers in the past two weeks holding Florida and Ole Miss to 19 total points. Tigers freshman QB Jonathan Wallace will make his second start after leading the Tigers to a 42-7 victory over New Mexico State last week. The favorite is 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings.
(21) Mississippi State at (7) LSU (-16 43.5)
Although the Tigers’ BCS title hopes dissolved with the Crimson Tide’s winning drive in the final minute last Saturday night, LSU did enjoy its best offensive game of the season – against Alabama’s dominant defense, no less. The Tiger offense gained 435 yards against Nick Saban’s pride and joy, including 257 in the second half alone as the Tigers turned a 14-3 halftime deficit into a 17-14 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Mississippi State stop unit has been shredded for 38 points in back-to-back games to Alabama and Texas A&M. The Bulldogs are just 1-4 ATS in their last five road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
(4) Notre Dame at Boston College (+19, 47.5)
Notre Dame allowed a season-high 20 points in last week’s victory over Pittsburgh, despite limiting the Panthers to 308 yards and 13 first downs. The Fighting Irish have not won by more than seven points in five games played on their campus, but their average margin of victory is 28 points in their four contests away from home this season. Boston College (2-7) owns the worst record in the ACC and has a beleaguered defense that has allowed five opponents to score at least 34 points this season. The Eagles are only 1-6 ATS in their last seven games overall.
(3) Oregon at California (+28.5, 67.5)
The Golden Bears have held four of their last five opponents to 21 or fewer points. But Cal has sustained significant losses on offense due to a pair of knee injuries. Starting QB Zach Maynard and WR Keenan Allen will both be sidelined Saturday. Oregon leads the nation in scoring at 54.3 points per game and has scored 42 or more points in each of its last 12 outings. The Ducks are looking for their 14th consecutive road victory and have covered the spread in their last four overall.
(18) UCLA at Washington State (16.5, 60.5)
Game-time temperatures are forecast to be below freezing so maybe the weather could help slow down the Bruins, who have scored 111 points in their last two games. Washington State is winless in the Pac-12 and recently had its top player – WR Marquess Wilson – suspended for walking out on a team workout. The Cougars have lost six straight and will surely miss the conference’s leader in receiving yards. The Bruins are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 meetings.